In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
Amusing, enlightening — and Canadian, and it deftly explores the Machiavellian machinations of Ottawa’s political culture.”
Globe and Mail
“This is a funny book that could only have been written by someone with firsthand knowledge of politics in Canada, including its occasionally absurd side. This is a great read for anyone thinking of running for office, and especially reassuring for those who have decided not to.”
The Hon. Allan Rock, former Justice Minister and Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations
The Best Laid Plans “has a certain charm, some clever turns of phrase and a well-honed appreciation for the absurdities of political life.”
“The funniest Leacock winner has to be Terry Fallis’ 2007 novel The Best Laid Plans – a political send-up that is a well written ribald tale.”
Orillia Packet and Times, posted by Manticore Books
Winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour 2008
McClelland & Stewart 2008
The Best Laid Plans
Disillusioned by politics and lacerated by romantic betrayal, Daniel Addison, a young political speechwriter, wants out. But it’s not that easy.
Forced to barter his lost idealism with one last obligation, he must cajole a sacrificial candidate to contest the election for the Liberal Party in a riding that is a hive of Conservatives.
Resourceful, Daniel persuades his landlord, Angus McLintock, a curmudgeonly Engineering Professor to allow his name to be used, provided Daniel will teach English to engineers. It will be an election campaign with no signs, no rallies, no speeches, and no budget. The campaign headquarters is Daniel’s jalopy. His committee is a savvy political operative, now a resident of a senior citizen’s home, and a pretty student.
But politics is filled with surprises. No one expected their popular Conservative opponent would be caught in a hilarious sex scandal. Suddenly Angus is catapulted to victory and he and Daniel must examine their political principles.
Emerging from the slapstick antics of innocents in a nest of vipers are serious questions about ethical and social responsibility, and how to survive the political process, the roughest game around.
The Best Laid Plans may be set in Ottawa, but its themes are universal.
Terry Fallis, like his charming protagonists, managed the impossible. Unable to find a publisher for a novel categorized as political satire, he published it himself first as a podcast and then as a book. The iUniverse edition won the prestigious Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. It sold more than 1500 copies before it was signed by a major publisher, McClelland & Stewart—the home of Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje.
Click here for Terry’s thoughts about writing in the National Post’s Canada Also Reads campaign: